Community invited to Police Legacy sports day in support of local families

Match up for lost mates: Kerri Donnelly with Wollongong Command's Dan OLeary and Lake Illawarra Command's Andrew Atkins and Brad Deanat at the launch of the Graeme Donnelly Cup. Picture: Adam McLean
Match up for lost mates: Kerri Donnelly with Wollongong Command's Dan OLeary and Lake Illawarra Command's Andrew Atkins and Brad Deanat at the launch of the Graeme Donnelly Cup. Picture: Adam McLean

It will be a case of mate versus mate on Sunday when Police officers from Wollongong and Lake Illawarra commands line up against each other at Collies Sports Ground for Police Legacy

Police Association Wollongong branch administrator Sgt Bob Minns said the seventh annual Graeme Donnelly Cup will be played mid afternoon after a series of lead up events from 12.30pm.

The public event is a family day where the community can come and support families who have lost a loved one.

The annual football game and other sporting activities draws up to 500 people. It not only raises money for NSW Police Legacy Trust Funds for children left behind but the Police Benevolent Fund which helps police families or retired police in financial/welfare difficulties. It also supports number of other causes and families in different ways.

Lake Illawarra presently leads the Graeme Donnelly Cup four games to three but Wollongong is eager to square the ledger.

Kerri Donnelly said the Graeme Donnelly Cup started soon after her husband died in 2013 and was helping his memory live on with an event that helps so many. She said Police Legacy was a great support to many families like hers.

"Police Legacy is amazing and very supportive. I don't know what I would have done without them," she said.

"They raise money for lots of families in need. And this event is so special. I never imagined they would start something like this in honour of my husband. The first year was hard but it was such an honour. It is amazing and it just gets better and better".

"It feels like we are part of the police family. The friendship never goes away and people are always there if you need them. I feel comforted by that. This event brings everyone together and I have met so many amazing people".

A lunch was put on for many widows and family members at the launch at City Diggers on Thursday.

Dan O'Leary said he had played for Wollongong since the beginning.

Alex Atkins, of Lake Illawarra, said it was always competitive and closely fought and all the officers enjoyed the good natured competition and wanted to win to have bragging rights for the next 12 months.

Sgt Minns said there was a new challenge being introduced this year after the Army Reserve said it wanted to be involved.

"The Emergency Services Fitness Challenge will see competitors from the police, fire brigade, ambulance, corrective services and the army reserve competing for the trophy in a Cross Fit challenge," he said.

Senior Constable Jodie Clark was nominated to represent the police and said she would fly the flag for the men and women in blue for such a good cause.

Sgt Minns said the day would not be possible without the support of organisations and businesses such as Nikolovski Lawyers, H. Parsons Funeral Directors, Remondis, Police Bank and Wollongong Rotary.

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This story Community invited to Police Legacy sports day for local families first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.